State Hit by Zim's Split Plan

The Zim shipping company, owned by the Ofer family, has proposed to the Government Companies Authority that it be split into an Israeli and an international arm. However, such a division would end up costing the state millions; holding a golden share in Zim, it would be forced to buy back ships from the company for the Israeli unit.

The Ofers' plan envisages an international arm comprising 80 ships and free of the state's golden share, and a local unit with 11 ships and bound to the state. The choice of 11 is not random; it is the minimal size of fleet that the golden share requires of Zim. At the time of settling Zim's privatized future, the "11-ship scenario" was only a theoretical one.

In a letter to Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, the Marine Officers Association warned that the proposed 11 ships for the Israeli branch would be veteran ships that are only seen in the Third World and that have not been used for years. Their total tonnage was less even than the smallest Zim ship in operation today, it claimed.